Remission is the major goal of depression treatment, but just what is remission? And do clinicians and patients define it in the same way?
According to Rhode Island Hospital researcher Mark Zimmerman, M.D., patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) often define remission differently than clinicians do.
In clinical trials, remission is often defined based upon scores on symptom severity scales. Patients, on the other hand, put a stronger emphasis on life satisfaction and a sense of well-being.
Based upon this fact, Zimmerman's team developed a Remission From Depression Questionnaire (RDQ), which incorporated the factors that patients considered most important. When tested, it was found that it was a reliable and valid means of testing the patient's perception of whether they were in remission.
"More work must be done to broaden the definition of remission," Zimmerman said. "Our patients need to feel supported, they need to feel confident about their remission. Therefore, it's imperative that clinicians and patients work more closely together to more clearly define remission in order to achieve the best outcomes for these patients. If some of the symptoms appear to be alleviated, but the patient is still suffering from a poor sense of well-being and low life satisfaction, then there is still more work to do."
The study was published online in advance of print in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.